The A to Z guide of healthy pregnancy foods for moms-to-be.
Congratulations, you’re pregnant. Pregnancy is such an exciting, but often anxiety producing time. We worry about so much during these nine months. I honestly think many women are more anxious during this time period than they will be for most of the next eighteen years of their child’s life. This is not to say that what you put in your mouth during gestation isn’t crucial. IT IS. It can contribute to a lifetime of good health for your child and can affect their gestational development. Most of us know that we should avoid cigarettes, alcohol, soft cheeses, lunch meat, and processed foods. Now, here’s a list of super foods you should make sure to eat to ensure a healthy pregnancy and give your baby the best possible start in life.
Apples – A high fiber fruit that help regulate your blood sugar, thus keeping your energy levels steady and reducing nausea. They also contain antioxidants that support your immune system and boost circulation.
Asparagus – This source of prebiotic fiber helps maintain good gut flora, gives antioxidant support to the immune system of the mother and baby and is an additional source of B vitamins.
Avocado – Avocado is a great source of healthy fats, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and Vitamins C and B6. Due to its bland flavor, it’s a great choice for adding to egg salad, spicing up a sandwich or slicing over a salad.
Bananas – A mildly sweet fruit, bananas reduce fluid retention, promote sleep and are high in potassium, reducing leg cramps. Eat one before bed to reduce midnight hunger pains and make drifting off easier.
Beets – These ruby red veggies are top sources of folates for overall development, silica for skeletal health, potassium and betaine which has been shown to minimize potential growth defects in the fetus and headaches and nausea in the mother.
Black Beans – These little gems are nutrient powerhouses. They are chocked full of protein, potassium, calcium, antioxidants, folates, and vitamin B1. They play a role in the development of the baby’s nervous system, the increase of maternal blood volume, and prepare the stomach muscles to stretch and support the weight of your growing bundle.
Blueberries – These healthy blue baubles are a natural anti-inflammatory and help boost circulation to ensure that baby gets a healthy oxygen supply and to prevent maternal bruising, varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
Broccoli – It is a natural source of folate, essential for a healthy, full-term pregnancy and rich in Vitamins A and C.
Brown Rice – An important source of prebiotic fiber, full of selenium, manganese, and Vitamin E, it boosts heart health and can help remove toxins from the body, as well as lower the risk of bacterial infection.
Butternut Squash – This vegetable supports healthy bone and cartilage growth, reduces maternal congestion and can protect both mom and baby from environmental and internal stress factors. It is a source of Vitamins A, C and Manganese.
Carrots – Important for building strong eyes, teeth and bones, carrots are fiber rich sources of Vitamin A, C and B6. They shred well into muffins, casseroles and stews and work as a great snack on the go.
Chamomile – This beneficial herb, most commonly taken in tea form, can help prevent urinary tract infections, ease digestion, acts as a natural laxative to combat pregnancy constipation, and is a natural sleep aid.
Chickpeas – Great in soups, salads and hummus form, chickpeas are a source of protein, carbohydrates, and B vitamins. Hummus can be a great mini meal with veggies or whole grain crackers.
Coconut Water and Coconut Oil – Coconut water is a great source of hydrating electrolytes needed to produce the extra blood volume to support fetal growth and development. Coconut oil is a healthy fat source that is also anti-fungal and helps combat viruses and bacterial infections.
Cucumbers – This green vegetable promotes hydration, is an anti-inflammatory and is anti-fungal. It provides greater flexibility to skin is at stretches to accommodate your expanding physique.
Edamame – This cooked version of soybeans, are a crispy source of Vitamins A and B, folic acid, protein and calcium. Lightly salted, a handful can make a great snack or you can throw some in a salad, rice dish or stir fry.
Eggs – Eggs pack a protein punch and are a great source of DHA fatty acid that is crucial for healthy brain and eye development. The hard-boiled kind make a protein-rich quick snack.
Garlic – A natural toxin eliminator, garlic is also an anti-fungal and a prebiotic, supporting probiotic growth and digestive functioning.
Ginger – A powerful, anti-nausea spice, it’s great in tea form or any other for soothing morning-sickness and general pregnancy nausea, assisting the digestive process and eliminating harmful bacteria.
Kale – This vegetable contains Vitamins C, E, and K. Together, these components prevent stretch marks, promote bone growth, reduce the risk of internal bleeding, and help produce pregnancy hormones to enable the placenta to work as an important filter of toxins between mom and baby.
Kiwi – Fuzzy and green, one kiwi has twice as much Calcium as an orange and three times as much as a mango. It is also a source of Vitamins A, C, and E and is high in potassium and folic acid. It facilitates the absorption of iron, aids the development of the respiratory system, reduces the development of asthma, and is a natural blood thinner, reducing the risk of blood clots during pregnancy. While sweet on its own, it is a great addition to salads and smoothies.
Leeks – These savory veggies, often added to soups and casseroles, have prebiotic properties preventing constipation, act as a probiotic protecting against viruses and bacteria, and help rid the body of toxins that can potentially harm your baby.
Lentils – Great sources of protein, potassium, manganese, Vitamins B6 and B1, iron and protein, lentils are the most easily digestible legume and are great when nausea is at its peak in the first trimester. Lentils are also blood-sugar balancing and cholesterol lowering, while also filling and low in calories.
Mangoes – High in Vitamins A, C and potassium, they balance out a salad, a smoothie or sweeten a salsa or chutney.
Oats and Oatmeal – Oats are high in fiber, the B vitamins and iron, as well as other nutrients. They also help aid in milk production, which is important if you are planning to breastfeed.
Olive Oil – Olive oil has a host of pregnancy nutritional benefits. This healthy fat is an immune supporter with benefits to both mom and baby. Furthermore, it can help develop the respiratory system and reduce organ problems in premature infants.
Papaya – Many people know this tropical fruit as a natural labor inducer. Consuming this fruit can also reduce heart burn, prevent constipation, steady blood sugar and aid in rapid bone growth and development.
Pecans – Pecans are a monounsaturated fat that is a source of magnesium, potassium, protein, manganese, folic acid and zinc. They help grow a fatty layer for warmth under baby’s skin and provide powerful protection against cell damage.
Pinto Beans – This legume is a slow-releasing carbohydrate that provides nutrients in the form of protein, choline, B-vitamins, folate, calcium, mangnesium and potassium. Pintos are great for regulating your mood, preventing you from riding that hormone roller coaster. These beans also lower the risk of preeclampsia, decrease fluid retention and help heart, brain and muscle function.
Pomegranate – This red fruit, rich in antioxidants, is also a source of potassium, folic acid and Vitamin C. It contributes to more effective circulation and can reduce risks in premature infants. If you are flying during pregnancy or living in a high altitude area, consume pomegranate juice, as it is known to counteract the effects of being at high altitudes.
Raspberries – These hydrating ruby berries, are rich antioxidants rich nourish and detoxify at a cellular level. Raspberries also contain fragine which strengthens the smooth muscles in the wall of the uterus and helps prepare your body for labor.
Red Bell Peppers – Red Bell Peppers are a healthy source of folates, vitamin C and B6. They aid in the digestion and absorption of iron and assist in maintaining healthy levels of hormones needed to sustain pregnancy and promote breastfeeding.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea – Rich in minerals and nutrients, including fragine, this tea made from the leaves of red raspberry plants, tones uterine and pelvic muscles, helping them to contract more efficiently during labor. As a result, women who frequently consume this tea in pregnancy report shorter, smoother, and more trouble-free labors.
Salmon – One of the safest fish to consume during pregnancy, salmon is a dense source of DHA, EPA, and Vitamins A, D, and B. These nutrients help the brain grow and develop, level out mother’s moods, improve heart functioning and development and keep joints strong.
Spinach – This leafy green is a dense source of Calcium, Iron, Vitamin A, folic acid. It assists in increasing blood volume, bone development and growth, healthy eyes and spines. It works well in salads and pasta dishes.
Strawberries – This berry packed full of Vitamin C and folic acid helps iron absorption, promotes overall growth and development and prevents poor circulation.
Sweet Potatoes – These orange sweeties are full of betacarotene, Calcium, and Vitamins C and A. These slow-burning carbohydrates are important in the development of the skin and eyes.
Tilapia – This freshwater fish is an excellent source of Vitamin D, protein and DHA. It assists in the development of a sturdy skeleton, a healthy brain and a hardy nervous system.
Walnuts – This nut is high in Omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids. It aids in the development of a healthy heart and brain growth and development, while also regulating sex hormone development.
Yogurt – Packed with more calcium than a cup of milk, yogurt is rich in protein and folates. The thicker, unsweetened kind is great as a low calorie substitute to sour cream and mayonnaise in dips and salad dressings. This source of probiotics is also wonderful for breakfast or as a base in smoothies. It is a high protein, satisfying snack.